It’s not very often that that “back to school” slogan is very appealing. And for many parents, although a school term may represent a more organised part of the year, it generally also signifies the onslaught of regime again - the end of a slightly slower morning and perhaps more relaxed evenings.
We, however, had smelt the investment potential of buying property near good schools, and were very eager to see how – and where - this could be transformed into ROI.
The answer is countrywide! And while figures show that what are arguably the country’s most prestigious private schools do attract the highest prices in surrounding suburbs, there are many former model C schools and good government schools that do their bit too and are surrounded by equally sought after neighbourhoods.
In the Cape the academic belt stretches across the southern suburbs including areas such as Rondebosch, Claremont, Newlands, Kenilworth, Bishopscourt and Constantia, and with approximately 160 schools, boasts the highest number of schools per square kilometre in the country. The convenient location of these suburbs as well as the top class infrastructure ranging from blue chip shopping malls, vibrant street cafes and coffee shops to restaurants, designer boutiques, excellent medical care and choice tertiary educational offerings ensure not simply strong demand in this area, but increasingly high property values.
In the Cape winelands, besides the wine itself, agents report that there is huge and constant interest in homes within the catchment area of schools such as Paarl Gymnasium, (where many national rugby players start off) along with Paarl Boys High, Paul Roos Gymnasium and Bridge House, and in Gauteng, Pretoria Boys High.
But catchment areas aren’t particular to rugby schools alone, with properties around many good government schools countrywide being sought after for the very reason that they are – literally – catchment areas.
In both the Cape and Johannesburg, international schools such as the Deutsche Schule, Ecole François Le Vaillant, the British International School and the American International School are strong selling points for European buyers.
And while the generally recognised top private schools in Johannesburg dramatically enhance values property values in already affluent suburbs, so too do the Afrikaans schools in areas such as Randburg.
It’s not just the country’s older schools that have this effect either, we learn. While the KZN Midlands may bask in the glory and high property prices on the luxurious estates and farms near their prestigious boarding schools, many new schools – from crèche level to matric – are snapping up places in newly developing areas, becoming highly sought after and contributing positively to those areas.
Even those, who prefer to hang on to the traditional values of the established old schools, will be amazed to see what a rapid difference to an area a good school can make, and how market values in that area leap accordingly.
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